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'Game of Thrones' Recap: Jaime and Brienne's Journey Gets Interesting

Two key characters clash swords, Catelyn has an Emmy-worthy moment, and Arya returns in all her glory.

Game of Thrones Christie Coster-Waldau Episodic Split - H 2013
HBO
Gwendoline Christie and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

[Spoilers ahead for Sundays Episode of Game of Thrones, "Dark Wings, Dark Words"]

Jaime and Brienne finally crossed swords on their long journey to King’s Landing.

Game of Thrones is populated with great fighters, but with them flung across the Seven Kingdoms and beyond we don’t often see them go head to head Avengers-style, so it was a treat when the Kingslayer (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and the Maid of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) went at it.

So who proved to be the better fighter? Brienne reigned supreme, besting Jaime—even with the handicap of having to ensure he survived the fight in one piece. Though in Jaime’s defense, he was partially manacled and not in top fighting form after his long imprisonment.

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Speaking of imprisonment, we found out what became of Theon (Alfie Allen) after his brief reign of terror over Winterfell last season. He had the screws put to him (literally) as an unidentified interrogator asked him why he took the Stark's land. The man seemed satisfied when Theon admitted it was because he resented the family for holding him hostage as a boy and that he thus wanted to hurt them. The last we saw of him, Theon was still under duress, but a young man claiming to be sent by his sister said he’d help Theon escape. We'll see.

Elsewhere in the Seven Kingdom’s, King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) impressed his betrothed, Margaery (Natalie Dormer), with his new crossbow and talk of making homosexuality punishable by death. (Yep, just when Joffrey couldn’t get any worse.) For a while it seemed Margaery might become the focus of Joff's torment, but she turned the tables and seemed to arouse the boy king with talk of wanting to kill something. Is this a match made in heaven or Margaery playing the game of thrones?

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Earlier, Margaery and her grandmother, the Queen of Thorns (Diana Rigg), pumped Sansa (Sophie Turner) for intelligence about what Joffrey was really like, and Margaery used the report that he had a cruel streak to her advantage, it seems. For the second episode in a row, Margaery was one step ahead of things.

Meanwhile, Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) was sought out and befriended by a pair of siblings who know about his ability to see through the eyes of animals. Jojen (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick) seemed to think Bran was pretty important, but they didn't say for what. North of the Wall, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) also had a run-in with someone who could see through animals.

Also traveling, Arya (Maisie Williams) and her compatriots were captured by the Brotherhood Without Banners. After a meal, it seemed she would be free to go. But then the Hound (Rory McCann) came along and ruined everything, revealing to the men that Arya is a "Stark bitch," not some peasant girl.

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There wasn’t much Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) in the episode, which saw him get harangued by Shae (Sibel Kekilli) over a past dalliance. Robb (Richard Madden) and Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) made good use of their brief screen time, where they learned of the death of Catelyn’s father, Lord Tully.

That leads us to some odds and ends:

The Emmy-Moment

Lady Stark revealed she blames herself for her family's misery, saying it is punishment for her A) wishing the death of the infant Jon Snow; B) promising to love him as her own should he recover from an illness; C) failing to live up to that promise. That’s heavy stuff for her to be carrying around.

Most Personal Insult

There were an unusually high number of fat jokes in the episode, directed at poor Samwell (John Bradley ) and Hot Pie (Ben Hawkey), but Jaime cut to Brienne’s core by teasing her about her love for the late King Renly and the fact that he almost certainly did not love her back.

“It’s a shame the throne isn’t made out of cocks. They’d have never gotten him off it,”  Jamie said, alluding to Renly's preference for men. But then, there was this hint of kindness—“I don’t blame him. And I don’t blame you either. We don’t get to choose who we love.”

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Best New Character

It’s hard to choose between the amazing archer Anguy (Philip McGinley) and the cantankerous Queen of Thorns. On the one hand, Anguy shot an arrow into the air and told Hot Pie: “When I’m done talking, that arrow’s falling down on your fat head. So I advise you move, because I’m done talking.”

On the other hand, the Queen of Thorns remained quite cool after hearing horror stories about Joffrey being a monster. Even the story about Sansa being forced to look at her father's head on a spike didn't concern her much. That means she must have a plan to keep things under control when her granddaughter marries the king.

What’d you think about the latest episode? Who is ahead, and who is behind in the pursuit of their goals? Sound off in the comments.  

And in case you missed it, Dinklage showed up on Saturday Night Live this week for a small cameo as Peter Drunklage. Watch, it here.

Game of Thrones airs Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.